Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Thought We Were Safe

Just when you think we were safe from those south that put ideology over reality Prime Minister Harper hauls off and appoints a wing nut ideologue. The Honorable Gary Goodyear not only suffers the embarrassment of having to admit he's a chiropractor but also studied and practiced acupuncture on real people!

Canadians don't ask for much. Really. We just expect the people we elect to be smarter than us rather than someone we would would like to invite to dinner. This guy you could invite to dinner, get a massage, a bone crack and jam darts in your butt to rearrange your chi.

He also opposes same-sex marriage which garnered him high praise from Christian Conservatives. You know that's going to end up badly. Perhaps he'll provide some funding for Intelligent Design although there wasn't any in his appointment.

My favorite Canadian blog Sandwalk has some more details.

Friday, November 21, 2008

If You Can't Join 'em...

The best part about being an atheist is that one has to be informed to enjoy the state of atheism. While the arguments against existence of god or gods are essentially the same from religion to religion it is still incumbent upon us to have a working knowledge of that religions we dismiss and there is nothing wrong with knowledge as long as it is viewed with a skeptical eye.

There is one such fascinating opportunity coming up real soon:
Date :
Tuesday, November 25th at 7 pm
Place :
Hindu Temple /Sudbury Prarthana Samaj, 485 McNeill Blvd
Dr. K.V. Nagarajan, from Laurentian University, will speak on the following topic:

Within the short time at my disposal, it is not possible to go into great depth. So, my plan is to introduce the audience to key writings and some major ideas and doctrines.

Bring friends.

RSVP : Ranjana : 524-1225 : Punam 522-2213

While they can no more support their religion than can the Christrian fundamentalists we have to put up with every day it is still a fascinating insight into another culture.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

They Don't Even Know They Do It

On a board I know longer have the patience to frequent, for the umpteenth time a believer brazenly asserted that Einstein was a theist and that it was part of the poster's world view that anyone disagreeing with the believer disagreed with Einstein too. "God does not play dice","I want to know the mind of God.", etc. Despite evidence to the contrary: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings"(a great article here) It is no more to the point than when I use the name of Jesus Christ with 'tap-dancing' in the middle when I'm really angry that I would be a hot-steppin' Christian.

If that isn't enough proof here are Einstein's own words: "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

I wish the believers, fundies and religiots would step off and stop trying to co-opt the people doing the heavy thinking to support their particular imaginary friend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Charter for Compassion

There is a viral video that has appeared in my email more than once with the misguided attempt to help me moderate my position or at least pull me from the conclusion that religion IS the problem. Charter for Compassion is a long meandering video that seeks to find commonality over the golden rule which appears in every major religion in one incarnation or another. Unfortunately for their argument which does nothing but enable religious delusion and their various dogmas about imaginary friends the Golden Rule doesn't need religion to work. In fact, it works better without one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Darwin At Work

Had a conversation with a fellow that used to do some web based work for me. I enquired about his wife and he mentioned she was not feeling well and hadn't been for some time. When asked what the doctors said he told me "We don't do doctors. There's a church we need to go to in Georgia for some healing. My wife has some issues to deal with."

A few months ago I would have been all over this guy but this time I just didn't have the energy. His type of nonsense is terminal and I chose at that moment to let science/doctors/reality take its course without any intervention from me. They're adults. If they want to believe illness is a result of sin let them and then let natural selection do its happy work.

But what if these two religiots had children? Don't know if they did but if so it is hard for me to imagine not speaking out. What has been bothering me is the obvious double standard I harbor. We find it easy to let people do stupid and ignorant things simply because they are an adult but fight for children that cannot make those informed choices. Do the choices we make allow us to be seen as less valuable as we mature?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm A Joiner!

Got home from visiting Ottawa to find my Humanist Association of Canada membership kit! Their mission? "To foster the development of reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through Humanist education and community support and to actively promote the separation of religion from public policy." Those are certainly lofty goals. Frankly I hope we can take it a step further. When someone says they believe in a deity they should say it in a quiet whisper and with the same sense or embarrassment I would feel if I told people I still believed in Santa Claus. How about shortening the mission statement? "Helping people grow up and face reality without fear or hate!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gather the Flock!

Our meeting at the Lions' Hearing Association building on Paris St. Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 P.M. should be very interesting.
Our speakers, Annie Wenger-Nabigon and Herb Nabigon, will be presenting talks on the dilemma between indigenous groups and non-indigenous people in our country.
What are the responsibilties?(My interpretation)

There will be discussion following. Who knows? Maybe a solution or part of one may be a result of the Humanist perspective.

Best Regards,
Joan Pella

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Get Calls

When someone I barely know, don't remember meeting, or is overly friendly in that creepy unsolicited way calls me with a great business opportunity I get the BS bucket all ready to receive a new load of knowledge I don't want to make past short-term memory. This call was even worse. It wasn't just Amway, Melaluca or some other but a company called Another antioxidant miracle pill with all these things going for it(I'll list them in order in which she relayed them to me) and what I wish I had said:

1. Will give you lots of energy.
-compared to what? Coffee? Placebo?
2. Strengthens your immune system.
-bullocks. With exercise and a good diet you won't need to spend $60 a bottle. After spending hundreds of dollars on snake oil we would be willing to lie to ourselves just to feel like something other than a chump.
3. Because our soils are contaminated this will help.
-what does one have to do with the other? What pill helps with lead or nickel contamination?
4. The scientist is one of the top 100 scientists in the US.
-still looking for a reference for this. There are tens of thousands of scientists and this guy has time to slog compressed plant fibres? And top 100 in what discipline?
5. We're just getting started in this area.
-get in on the ground floor with your own home based business. How many of the multi-level marketing schemes can one go through and still have friends left? For another outrageous fee you can even get your own turnkey website! The lady that talked to me had her website numbered in the twelve thousands so someone is making a bundle and its not the poor soul that called me.
6. It's all natural so we don't have to take a lot of drugs to be healthy.
-this is where my brain went off the rails. What are chemicals found in the wild? Dirty drugs. No thought to dosage, controls for consistency of even contamination. Sounds like a future episode for House.
7. Its filled with antioxidants.
-really? So? The wonder working power of antioxidants has not only been proven to be oversold (heart disease) but harmful in some cases. is a wonderful place to start. After researching this I think its my new BFF.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Nightmare Is Over

Anti-science, anti-intellectualism, incoherent policies, tax and borrow that pulled the world into recession...there is an end in sight. Obama will be the nest American President. Predictably the religious right is making excuses why their deities seemingly failed them leading one girl on Facebook to say that no leader including Hitler, Mussolini, Mao or Obama rules without God allowing it. Despite her thinly veiled attempt at equating Obama with dictors her indictment is on her god and upon her for thinking her belief actually made sense in light of her own logic.

Lets hope the long march towards ignorance is over for the Americans.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Wish I Wrote That!

The message doesn't change but the messenger does and this young lady is nothing if not inspirational. Please enjoy her youtube vids. This woman has also been threatened and even suspended on complaints for this video. The fundies will scream bloody murder over free speech unless its someone else trying to exercise it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Moses Is Going To Be Cheesed!

The Christians are praying before the golden calf ...again!

Don't they remember what happened the LAST time?

Blogs, blogs, blogs, blogs...

Edge Foundation, Inc., was established in 1988 as an outgrowth of a group known as The Reality Club. Its informal membership includes of some of the most interesting minds in the world.

The mandate of Edge Foundation is to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society.

Try it. You might like it! Clicky...

Unfortunately theres no RSS feed so we can't subscribe.

November 20th 2008 Shhhh!

The next meeting of the Sudbury Humanists Association is Thursday November 20th in the Canadian Hearing Society on Paris. Bring a donation to pay for the room and try to remember we have to be quiet for the Meditation Group down the hall. There really needs to be much less laughing and having fun. I mean really! We're atheists! We have no reason to live!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't tell anyone! The rest will want it too!

It has been frightening to watch the infiltration of religious fundamentalism into the UN and the supposed addition of complimentary Muslim Human Rights. Tarek Fatah has made a courageous polemic against separate and 'complimentary' Islamic Human Rights. The OIC are trying to enact into the law of the world courts a situation where their Shariah law not only has to be respected but enforced. Keep it up and the religious right in North America will want the same thing and then atheists will be forced to watch them argue over which invisible friend takes precedence.

Sudbury Humanists Pub Night!

Hello,Everyone, Our social gathering will be on Wednesday, Nov 5 at Little Montreal on Elgin St. starting around 7, but come later if you can't make it by 7.

Parade of Whackloonery

This is an absolutely frightening video of some incredibly deluded people. A perfect example of how you can dress up ancient mysticism with pseudoscience thus coming up with some really smart sounding ways to believe anything.

Thanks to Steve Drisdelle for the link.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Let the Voice of Reason Be Heard

From the desk of Joan Pella:

The following letter was published today
in the Intelligencer, Belleville, Ontario.

Re "Honouring Morgentaler a disgrace" (September 25), I wonder how Louise Donahue would feel if someone close to her were experiencing an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. Human compassion alone means that the option to terminate a pregnancy must be available to those who want it.

Ms. Donahue and others who believe as she does might be interested to know that one of the first abortions performed by Dr. Morgentaler was on the daughter of a prominent anti-abortionist. The girl was terrified to tell her father she was pregnant.

Dr. Morgentaler put his freedom and his career on the line for what he believed. The fact that he eventually won means that he must have had a lot of moral right on his side. Perhaps Ms. Donahue and company would do well to remember the words of the bible she professes so much to believe in, the part about looking to the beam in her own eye before she worries too much about the motes in the eyes of others.
I and many other Canadians are proud that this country has at last honoured Dr. Morgentaler with the Order of Canada. He has done so much to protect the lives and health of Canadian women. One has to wonder just what people like Louise Donahue, who write such intolerant letters, are thinking.

Bill Broderick, Chair
Quinte Humanist Association

This is the type of letter which can make our voices heard as rational Humanists. I do not think that anyone can change the mind of a person who accepts a religion's dicta as absolute, but there must be some people out there who are thinking. By taking part in this sort of activity in numbers, we are also letting people who may feel excluded from the large, loud and visible "Faith society" that there are others;they are not alone. In addition, numbers are important to religious leaders and the appearance of many non-religious arguments based on reason and from human compassion may challenge them eventually) -or, as I have seen for myself when I witnessed a Pentecostal argumental performance on the existence of God (their God), retreat even further in the irrational acceptance of their holy book as "proof".-which certainly may be further than some of their faithful would like to go. Didn't our opposition parties influence the humane changes to our access to medical treatment and old-age and other mutual support ? And what is a powerful religious institution but a political force?

Joan P.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Idiocy Is International!

From the Desk of Joan Pella.

Dear friends,

This verdict caused outrage all over the world: In November 2005 the Italian
judge Luigi Tosti was sentenced to seven months' imprisonment and suspended
from all official duties for a year because he refused to perform his
official duties under the crucifix. The intention behind this is to push
through the continuing validity of a law passed by Mussolini's Fascist
government from 1926 that prescribes the presence of crucifixes in
courtrooms, thereby approving a blatant violation of the Italian
constitution. In February 2008 the sentence of imprisonment was lately
increased to 12 months.

Thousands of people and numerous organizations across the world have signed
their names to demand:

*Get rid of Mussolini's crucifix decree once and for all! Acquit Luigi

Now the proceedings have reached their crucial phase: the appeal against
Tosti's sentence is taking place before the highest Italian court, the Court
of Cassation in Rome, on *18. November 2008*. Let us do everything we can to
make sure this day does not become a fatal precedent for a Papist Europe!

So, everything now depends on the international public not showing itself to
be weary but to act! This is what we must do:

Let us all now renew our demand before the crucial date by writing to the
Italian Court of Cassation:

*Reverse the sentence passed on Judge Luigi Tosti, which violates the
freedom of religion and the obligation on the part of the state to religious
neutrality guaranteed by the Italian constitution and instead favours the
decree made by a Fascist government! *

*Acquit Luigi Tosti! *

Please send your politely formulated letters of protest to the following
address (and please send a copy to us if possible):

Corte di Cassazione
Sesta Sezione Penale
Palazzo di Giustizia
Piazza Cavour
00193 ROMA (RM)

(Fax: + 39 6688 3400)

File No. (make sure to include this in your letter!): *R.G.n. 2007/03482400*

Further information on the Luigi Tosti case:

With Voltairian regards

Birgit Linz

Replace crucifix with the 10 Commandments and this case looks eerily familiar. Unfortunately the credulous won that one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feed Your Head!

Some Podcasts of Interest to Freethinkers - Greg Stott
(enter these titles into the search box in iTunes Store on your iTunes browser)

All in the Mind
The Amazing Show starring James Randi
American Freethought
Astronomy Cast
The Atheist Experience
* Atheist Nation
Atheist Talk – Audio
Bad Astronomy
Bad Science
Best of Natural History Radio
* The Better Atheist
Big Ideas
Bill Moyers Journal Podcast / PBS
Books and Ideas Podcast
Brain Food
The Brain Science Podcast with Dr. Ginger Campbell
CBC Radio’s Ideas: How to Think About Science
CBC Radio: Quirks & Quarks Complete Show
CBC Radio: The Best of Ideas
CBC Radio: The Best of the Sunday Edition
CBC Radio: White Coat, Black Art
Center for Public Integrity: Podcasts
The Course of Reason – new for Center for Inquiry college freethinkers
* Developing a Philosophy of Life
Discovery Channel Video Podcasts
Dogma Free America
Ecogeeks: Science Video Podcast
* Ethical Quandaries Podcast
Ethics Bits –
* Ethics Matters
Everyday Ethics
Evolution discussion with Richard Dawkings, Steve Jones and Lewis Wolpert
* Existence is Wonderful Audio
The Exquisite Truth
Freethought Radio
The Good Atheist
Great Lives
Great Speeches in History
Hubblecast Full HD
Humanist Network News
* Hunger Truth Podcast
In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg
The Infidel Guy Show
* The Inoculated Mind – Mindcast
* Intellectual Icebergs
* Introduction to Philosophy – Philosophy 100
Irrelevant Astronomy HD
* Jesus People
Joy of Living Creatively: Tapping your innovation and imagination


If you aren't afraid after watching this you aren't paying attention.

Best Lunch In A Long Time!

Today I had the great honour of sitting with two very fascinating people. One was Charles Ramcharon, a Professor of Biology at Laurentian University, and Greg Stott, a Professor of Geology also at Laurentian University. With company like that do you think that creationism had a chance? In fact, it didn't have a prayer.

What transpired was a most enjoyable lunch that hopefully will be the begining of a cooperative venture between the Sudbury Humanists Association and the Laurentian Free Thinkers. Our shared experiences brought to mind a passage from the Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Unfortunately Carl appears to have been prophetic.
Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

Hopefully together we can beat back the darkness of ignorance if only in our little corner of the world.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tolerance vs. Respect

I was reading Pharygula today about assisted suicide and a bill in Washington for which the Catholic Church is fighting against. And it pissed me off!

When is the church going to realize that there is a difference between tolerance and respect? We tolerate the kid that gets off the short bus but we don't respect his opinion. We tolerate the religionist but we don't respect his irrational thinking. We can tolerate someone else's right to choose the manner of their life's end but we don't have to respect their enforcing that view on others.

This dogmatic nonsense gives the religionist reasons to hate. Now someone who doesn't believe in the right kind of imaginary friend and what someone else thinks that imaginary friend said is now entitled to an infinity of conscious torment which translates to an excuse for the despicable acts the church propagates today. They are trying to legislate their beliefs and that should neither be tolerated nor respected.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And All The People Said...

Dear Mr. Dion,
For the first time in my voting life of 62 years, I had decided to vote Liberal.In order to defeat Mr. Harper's bid for more power over this country, I had decided that your party was the best alternative.I respect you and also respect Bob Rae.
You two men were my main reason for making this choice.As for you, I have read much of your written work as it has been appearing in newspapers and I believe you to be an honest man, with integrity and a strong moral base.
However, as a secular Humanist, dedicated to equal civil rights of all members of this society,with no special privilege or taxpayer-generated capital given to any religious or ethnic group, I have had to revise my choice of vote.
I cannot ever condone the gift of my taxes or anyone's to a religious group of any stripe.Any law-biding organization which or person who has been harrassed, threatened or physically attacked by others in this country should be serviced as the need arises by the law enforcement mechanisms which we have in place. This must include all citizens, not only the religions, and if we need to inject more of our tax money into this need, it is required for us to do so to be a civilized nation.
If you should retract this offer, or better yet, make it applicable to all citizens and citizen groups regardless of religious affiliation it would be a step towards having a civilized nation.
I would certainly swing my vote back to your party for this election if you were to do this.
Respectfully yours,
Joan Pella

Friday, October 3, 2008

WE Made the Big Time!

Out own resident political/religious wingnut David Popescu has made the most unholy pages of Pharyngula. Wish I could say Popescu's opinion was rare but at least the other candidates has the fortitude to speak out against this man's ignorance and bigotry. Politicians standing up against hate speech is less rare north of the border.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sept 18 2008 Meeting Notes

From Joan Pella

Humanist Meeting, Sept 18. ( Agenda : abbreviated to simplify and add minutes.)A small but vital group was present.

Topics of discussion:


We will continue to meet at the Lion’s Club Hearing Association building on Paris street for our formal/discussion meetings on the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 unless we have to fit in a speaker on a different day. Eddo has arranged this and we are collecting small donations each time for the use of the premises. There is no set charge but please keep that quiet.

Social get-togethers:

We are going to have a relaxed “pub night” each month on the first Wednesday of the month,to just meet and chat, get to know each other, as well as our formal meetings. The first will be on Wednesday, October 5 at 7:00 at Little Montreal on Elgin.It’s early in the evening,since most people have to go to work the next day. We may change our meeting venue for each meeting:we’ll decide later.



---We have the money for the bursary and Joan will be meeting with someone at Laurentian to introduce it.

--Sheila has suggested that it be open to Cambrian students as well.---- Although we had set the essay topic as the IHEU Amsterdam Proclamation, Greg suggested a broader topic: “civil liberties in Western society and the threat to them to-day.” It certainly would broaden the scope and could include all human rights accords including the Muslim one in contrast.

Please let us know what you think of these two proposals, either on the blogsite or by e-mailing me directly.(Joan:

National-Sharing in the International day of Peace on Sunday. Info will be forwarded to you. Eddo attended an organization meeting on our behalf. There is a banner that I will scan and send, if you want to make a copy and carry it as a “flag” But I also will send the Humanist symbol, as one of our objectives is to participate in human rights demonstrations and be seen doing it. I am going to carry it also as a banner.

Ideas for future discussion:

Topics, speakers:

---support for a unified secular Public School system in Ontario;taking active part in the movement

---History of Native culture, status, etc.-guest speakers invited by Sheila. This may happen on a Sunday due to the activities of the two speakers. Will let you know.

---Sharing of Humanist CDs ,e. g from Eddos’s collection , also the evolution series

---Greg will present his extensive background knowledge of violations of civil liberties, E.G. Maher Arrar, Guantanamo. .The meeting for this would have to be no later than the second week of December. To be announced.

--- In keeping with our objective to participate actively , as a group join Amnesty International as an affiliate and invite a local speaker to speak to us. I think some of us have already helped Amnesty International.

----Invite a speaker from the local volunteer service group, The Human League;possibly affiliate as volunteers:Sheila will organize this.


--- Eddo volunteered to send meeting notices to the Sudbury star and Northern Life.

----Sheila will fax in notices to Channel 10

---Greg proposed a column idea, in which we will write regular columns on secular organizations which are helping humanity locally, e.g. the Lions, Habitat, etc. I would like to work on this and anyone else who is interested , please volunteer. I will first propose the idea to the paper and let you know.

--- Making ourselves seen in a positive context as an organization following a set of ethics which aim towards helping to build a civilized, humane society by

---participation in local events as a named organization:e.g. the peace walk project, in future,as a co-sponsor.


---- Bill has created a website for us, which is up and running. As it progresses, Bill will make it more sophisticated,such as adding voiced blogs. We will be able to send messages and have discussions.

Kim’s idea re book exchange project can be carried out through the blog:Kim to manage it.

See ---

Hope I got that right, Bill.

Best Regards to all of you. Hope to see you sometime at the pub or a meeting or on the blog. Joan Pella

Monday, September 1, 2008

This Is A Beginning

This is the very first blog for what I hope will be many for the Sudbury Humanists Association. Humanism is looking at life in all its beautiful reality without resorting to supernatural explanations, religiously determined values or pseudo scientific thinking. To be a humanist is to live life with integrity.